Whether you are planning to drive, fly or boat into Bamfield we’ve provided the following directions, travel tips and local business information to help make your trip convenient and stress-free.
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Time: Approximately 1 1/2 hours to Youbou or 2 1/2 hours to Port Alberni.
Route: Travel Highway 1 north to Duncan (approx 84km) and then continue on in the same direction for another five kilometres, until you reach the junction at Highway 1 and Highway 18. From this point, you can continue driving down Highway 1 to Nanaimo, and then on to Port Alberni, or you can turn left at Highway 18 and travel west towards Youbou.
From Youbou / Lake Cowichan
Time: This drive takes approximately 2 1/2 hours, with more gravel roads. While the roads can be dusty they are in good condition and this drive is very scenic. Keep an eye out for logging trucks and pull over to allow them to pass when you see one coming.
Route: From the junction just north of Duncan, you’ll want to turn left onto Highway 18 and drive through to Youbou (approx 45km). From Youbou, follow the gravel logging roads: Nitinat Road to South Road (8km); left onto Flora Main for 13km; Central Main for 17km; Right onto Klanawa Main, Left at Between the Lakes and turn Left onto Bamfield Main Line and follow the signs to Bamfield.
From Port Alberni
Time: Expect a 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour drive via this route. You will need to watch for logging trucks along this gravel road route as well.
Route: Once you’ve entered Port Alberni you’ll want to take a left at the fork in the road by the tourism information centre. From here, follow the signs that say: “to City Centre” and “Bamfield.” This is the Port Alberni Highway that you can follow through Port Alberni towards Bamfield. You will be led to Franklin River Road, which is the start of approximately 83km of gravel logging road. This will turn into Bamfield Road shortly after you pass Carmanah Mainline roughly halfway in. Keep on Bamfield Road, which will take you into the village.
From Nanaimo Ferry
From the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo, take a right on the #1 Island Highway heading north and follow the signs to Port Alberni, and then onto Bamfield. From the Departure Bay terminal the drive takes approximately three hours.
It doesn’t matter where you start, you will end up on gravel logging roads for the final stretch of your drive into Bamfield. The roads are in good condition, though they can be dusty and you’ll want to keep in mind the following safety tips:
- The roads can be narrow and winding resulting in areas of reduced visibility. Please drive carefully and pull over when you need to let others pass.
- You will encounter logging trucks on the road and they have the right of way, so be considerate and pull over to let them pass. If you’re following behind a truck you can expect that they will do the same for you once it’s safe to stop and let you by.
- Because of the remote area there will not be rest stops or fueling stations so be sure to prepare for this leg of the drive before hand. Make sure your tank is full and carry some water, snacks and other necessities in case of unforeseen delays.
- Check that your vehicle fluids are also filled and topped up, and make sure to check that your spare tire is in good working order.
Float Plane in with Pacific Seaplanes
Fly into Bamfield from Port Alberni or from the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) with Pacific Seaplanes. This quick and easy service offers regular flights, but be sure to check schedules for flight times, which are dependent on flight sizes and availability. Flights are approx 15 – 45 minutes in duration. Call toll free: 855-933-5922.
Sail to Bamfield with the Lady Rose Marine Services
The M.V. Frances Barkley is a charming sailing vessel that gives you a breathtaking view of the west coast and sails daily out of Port Alberni and down Alberni Inlet to Barkley Sound and Bamfield; or the Broken Group Islands and Ucluelet. It leaves every day at 8am, and returns to Port Alberni in late afternoon.
The trip to Bamfield via the M.V. Frances Barkley from Port Alberni takes about four and a half hours, arriving at around 12:30 pm. The vessel departs again at 1:30 pm, to arrive back in Port Alberni at 5:30 pm.
Call 250.723.8313 or toll free at 1.800.663.7192 for more information and to reserve.
By Private Boat
If you’re looking to travel by sea in a private boat, there are public docks and marinas available for public use.
The Bamfield East Dock provides approximately 850 ft. of safe, year-round moorage. There is dock lighting and garbage facilities now available with upgrades of water and power in the near future. The dock is located close to grocery and liquor stores, ice and a café.
The Harbour Authority dock in East Bamfield, also known as the fisherman’s dock, offers public moorage and reservations are recommended during the summer. The contact number is 250-720-7548.
The West Government Dock offers limited moorage for recreational boats, and a dock is available in front of the Bamfield Mercantile & Marine store, right next to the little west government dock. It is mostly private, but offers short term parking for store use.
Moorage is available at the docks of Upnit Lodge and Awis Guesthouse. Gas is available at Upnit, Harbourside Lodge and McKay Bay Lodge.
By Shuttle Service
Join the West Coast Trail Express
Meet other travelers on the West Coast Trail Express, which makes daily stops between Port Renfrew and the Juan de Fuca trail head. It provides regular services to Bamfield and Pachena Bay from Victoria. Call toll free: 1.888.999.2288.